If you’ve been at Denison in the last dozen years or so, you probably know them as “the Sunsets,” or even “Sunnys.” Now, the four handsome brick residence halls on Sunset Drive, overlooking the athletics playing fields and the rolling Welsh Hills, have been given new names.
At the suggestion of President Knobel, these homes for 208 upperclass students have been renamed to honor four memorable Denison presidents: John Pratt, K.I. Brown, Robert C. Good and Michele Tolela Myers.
The identical four-story buildings, located on Sunset Hill, originally were given the names Sunset A, B, and C by the contractor URS Corp. when they were built in 1998. Sunset D was completed in 2001. Every building has 13 apartments with a living room, kitchen, two bathrooms and four bedrooms, each accommodating four students.
They’ve been a popular place to live on campus. “I loved my year in Sunny D,” says Alison Waldman ’10 of Washington, D.C., “but it was pretty hard not to, living there with my three best friends. I wasn’t on a meal plan, and it forced me to go grocery shopping regularly, plan my meals, and cook. You learn a lot about your friends by what and how they cook. Now we’re all far apart, but if I fix one of their recipes, it gives me an excuse to call or text them. Living in Sunny D was definitely a decent preview to real life.”
Here’s a look back at the presidents whose names now grace the Sunsets:
In December of 1831, John Pratt, a Connecticut native who graduated from Brown University and was a clergyman, became principal of the Granville Literary and Theological Institution (Denison’s original name). He served as the institution’s president until 1837. Pratt was an advocate of learning and piety for young men, and he continued to teach at the college as a professor until 1858. The residence originally named Sunset A is now Pratt Hall.
K.I. Brown arrived at Denison as a young president from Hiram College and became Denison’s 13th president. During his tenure from 1940 to 1950, World War II temporarily depleted the male enrollment and brought about military training programs. He approved changing the college’s description from a “college of liberal arts” to a “college of liberal arts and sciences” and created the new posts of dean of the college and director of admissions. Sunset B is now Brown Hall.
Robert C. Good was the 16th president, leading the college from 1976 to 1984. He brought a wealth of experience to Denison, having taught undergraduate and graduate courses at University of Denver, served as director of President John F. Kennedy’s Task Force on Africa, and ambassador to Zambia. At Denison, he supported the creation of the Denison Homestead, creating Shepardson Hall as a coed living and learning residence hall in 1978, and the development of interdisciplinary Freshman Studies. Sunset D is now Good Hall.
Michele Tolela Myers, Denison’s 18th and first female president, served the college from 1989 to 1998. Born in Morocco and educated in Paris and the United States, her tenure reflected a desire to prepare students for life after Denison. She was also a builder. The three Sunset apartment-style residence halls, along with the F.W. Olin Science Building and Mitchell Recreation and Athletics Center, were constructed during her tenure. Sunset C is now Myers Hall.